Strategic Litigation

Strategic litigation is the resolution of cases of public importance through court or out-of-court proceedings. This can be done in civil, criminal and administrative cases. The aim of strategic litigation is to influence the quality of laws and the way laws are implemented through carefully selected individual cases. It is a method of advocacy.

For ordinary people, participating in strategic litigation means that, in addition to getting help on a personal level, their story will bring legal clarity or change case law for others with the same concern.

Lawyers of the Estonian Human Rights Centre together with partner attorneys take a stand with the support of donors (link) to create a fairer and safer legal space for all residents of Estonia. Feel free to get in touch (link) if you think your or someone else’s human rights have been violated and you need help taking legal action.

See cases where the Estonian Human Rights Centre has decided to help people:

How do we select cases?

  • The case relates to one of the thematic objectives of the Centre’s strategic litigation
  • The case explains an existing provision of a law or case law;
    • concerns a gap or inconsistency in legislation;
    • changes an existing provision of a law or case law;
    • concerns systemic failure to implement a law and/or
    • raises awareness of a law.
  • Addressing a specific case is not in contradiction with the Centre’s other strategic objectives and the strategy to achieve them.
  • There is some other special circumstance related to the case
  • The case has prospects for success
  • Financial resources have been secured for the case or it is possible to secure them
  • A competent lawyer is available to conduct proceedings on the case

What is the selection process like?

Cases can concern different areas covered by the Centre, such as digital rights, equal treatment or refugee law. The first to address the case is the head of the department, an expert or a lawyer who will establish the facts of the case. They then forward information about the case to the Centre’s Head of Strategic Litigation, who convenes a meeting with the Centre’s area-specific experts and the Executive Director. The person will be informed of the Centre’s decision to take on or refuse the case within a week, or told when to expect a decision.

Where do the cases come from?

  • The person themselves contacts the Centre (by phone or letter)
  • The case reaches us through a partner (e.g. a sectoral NGO or an attorney)
  • We contact the person ourselves if the case has come to the attention of lawyers (through an advocacy organisation or the media)
  • We reach out directly to the community to find relevant cases

Strategic litigation is made possible thanks to the donors of the Estonian Human Rights Centre and the pro bono or reduced-fee work of attorneys. Current or former partners:

Advokaadibüroo Liverte
Advokaadibüroo DEM OÜ
TRINITI Advokaadibüroo
NJORD Advokaadibüroo
Maria Mägi Advokaadibüroo
Advokaadibüroo Sirel & Partnerid